The Catholic University of America
Tips for Risk Reduction

What can you do to stay safe?

You can take steps to increase your safety in social situations. These tips can help you feel more safe and may reduce the risk of something happening, but, like any safety tips, they are not foolproof. It’s important to remember that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, regardless of whether they were sober or under the influence of drugs or alcohol when it occurred.


  • When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation.

  • Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or worried for any reason, don’t ignore these feelings. Go with your gut. Get somewhere safe and find someone you trust or call law enforcement.

  • Have a backup plan. Sometimes plans change quickly. You might realize it’s not safe for you to drive home, or the group you arrived with might decide to go somewhere you don’t feel comfortable. Download a rideshare app, like Uber, or keep the number for a reliable cab company saved in your phone and cash on hand in case you decide to leave.

  • Think when you drink. Alcohol and other drugs can inhibit a person's physical and mental abilities. In the context of sexual assault, this means that alcohol and other drugs may make it easier for a perpetrator to commit a crime and can even prevent someone from remembering that the assault occurred. Punch or juices that mask the taste of alcohol can make it difficult for a person to determine how much alcohol they have consumed. Rapid alcohol consumption, particularly on an empty stomach, can result in blackouts or incapacitation that makes a person unable to consent.

  • Communicate. Don’t be afraid to show and communicate your feelings in your relationships. In a respectful relationship each person is valued and treated as an equal. It’s ok to be assertive and say no. 
(adapted from “Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Sexual Assault” RAINN,